In the past we have looked at SugarSync as a tool for online backup and file.
Lately though I have made a switch to another service called Dropbox. Whilst it is similar, there are many features of Dropbox that make it more useful for offsite backup and collaboration.
Setting up Dropbox is pretty easy. Sign up for an account – free for a 2Gb starter plan – and then download and install the required software. The software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and even iPhone – so there are no limitations by platform.
Once installed you will have a Dropbox folder and anything saved into this folder will be automatically uploaded and saved into your online, secure, space. The way I set this up was to move my entire documents folder into the Dropbox. It took a bit of fiddling to get everything pointing to the right place – but once done all of my work documents are transparently saved online.
If you have several machines you can install Dropbox on all of them and your files will be kept magically in sync. It is worth noting that somehow the software is clever enough to only sync the parts of the file that changes – reducing file transfer times and data usage. Also – it knows if the computers are on the same network and sends the files direct, rather than up to the Internet site and back down again.
There are a couple of elements to file sharing. First, if you have a large file you need to send as a one-off you can drop it into your Public folder and grab a download link which can be easily emailed. Secondly – and this is the exciting bit! If you are collaborating with a colleague you can share to them a whole folder of files – although to do this you must both be Dropbox members. The folder will be available locally on both computers and any changes made by either party are automatically synchronized to the other user.
If you make a mistake the default Dropbox plans come with 30 days of version control – ie every version created by any small change is kept for 30 days. There is an option to extend this out to unlimited.
In terms of pricing – for many users 2Gb will be enough and is free. The smallest paid account is 50Gb and comes in at US$99 per year. The option to add unlimited versioning is called ‘Pack-Rat’ and is an extra US$39.95 a year. In summary this is a very good service offering peace of mind and easy collaboration.
With luck next month will see an iPad for review!
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This week has seen a swag of new goodies coming from Apple announced at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The one that will undoubtedly get the most attention is the new iPhone- the 3GS.
It is identical in appearance to the current model which means that current peripherals will still work. Inside there are some significant additions though – a faster processor, more memory, a better camera, voice control and a compass to aid GPS navigation. It will come with the new iPhone OS 3.0 which will also be available to existing iPhone users from June 17th as a no cost upgrade.
If you’re a MobileMe subscriber, one excellent new feature allows you to locate your phone on a map if lost, send a message with your contact details, or if unrecoverable, you can remotely wipe all of your valuable data.
Apple have also refreshed the entire range of MacBook Pro laptops with 7 hour batteries and announced that the next version of the OSX operating system, Snow Leopard, will be available from September. It will focus on optimizing and refining the existing features and promises significant speed increases across the board. Upgrading from Leopard is a quite reasonable US$29.95.